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MiG29K fails to take off, veers off runway at Goa naval base

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MiG29K naval strike fighter of Indian Navy. A file photo

PANAJI (PTI): A MiG29K fighter aircraft of the Indian Navy on Wednesday veered off the runway before catching fire inside the INS Hansa naval base in Goa while its pilot disembarked safely.

This is the first major mishap involving the recently-inducted naval version of MiG29K, a top naval officer said.

"The pilot is safe. When the pilot was taking off, there was some malfunction in the aircraft which we will have to investigate," Real Admiral Punit K Bahl, Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area (FOGA), told PTI.

Due to the malfunction, the aircraft could not take off and as a result, the pilot continued in the direction of the take-off and left the runway at the other end.

"The pilot crossed over the other end and, luckily the aircraft then retarded and about 150 metres off the edge of runway he turned left and stopped there.

"After that the pilot descended from canopy and he came out of the aircraft and there was little fire and smoke at the aircraft, which is now under the control," Bahl said.

"This is the first main incident of the MiG29K since the time it was inducted," he said.

The incident happened around noon at the northern end of the runway at INS Hansa base, which is also home to Goa's Dabolim airport where civilian flights land.

"It is too premature to say whether this was a human or machine error, because we have to do investigation which will take some time," rear admiral Bahl said.

"What is the source of error, whether it is machine or something else, we will come to know after inquiry," he added.

The incident happened 10 minutes before a civilian aircraft was scheduled to land at the airport, Goa airport director B C H Negi told PTI.

Operations at the airport were suspended after 12.30 pm but resumed around 1.40 pm, he said.

The Russian-made MiG29K were inducted in the Indian Navy on May 11, 2016 after the decommissioning of Sea Harriers.

The aircraft is currently integrated on-board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and performs the role of strike fighter and air defence for the Navy.

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